Internist/Primary Care Physician

Each fall, make an appointment with your primary health-care provider for yourself and your loved ones to obtain a flu shot, especially if you or they are members of a high-risk group. If you are a member of a group at high risk for secondary complications of the flu, you should contact your doctor as soon as you develop any flu-like symptoms. You should also see a physician if your symptoms seem particularly severe. Your family doctor will decide whether you need to be referred to a specialist.

Go to the emergency room immediately if you experience any symptoms of pneumonia, including:

  • Severe cough with large amounts of phlegm
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Prolonged fever over 104°F
  • Acute chest pains
  • Severe chills
  • Fainting
  • Confusion or change in mental state


A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in providing health care for children. If you have children, contact their pediatrician every fall to see if a flu vaccination is appropriate for them as well. If your child develops the flu with severe symptoms, a pediatrician will be able to assess your child’s flu symptoms to determine the best course of treatment and whether or not he or she should be seen by a specialist.

Infectious Disease Specialist

These doctors have specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, including the influenza virus. If you or your child has an especially severe case of the flu, or if your primary doctor cannot determine the cause of flu-like symptoms, he or she may recommend that you see an infectious disease specialist.